Once the driving retail force in Kansas City's Nothland, Metro North Mall has declined over the past 15 years. Now, its pitted asphalt parking lots have become storage space for vehicles produced at the Ford plant awaiting shipment.
Little remains of the past retail environment except a Macy's store.
"Right now it's the definition of 'blight' because you have vacant buildings that are in a crumbling condition. said Northland Councilman Dan Fowler. "I saw what happened when the same thing happened to Antioch Mall and it wasn't pretty.”
The $186 million planned renovation of Metro North will cost nearly three times what was spent in bringing Antioch Mall back to life as Antioch Crossing.
The Kansas City Council Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Committee endorsed $71 million in tax increment financing for Metro North Crossing on Thursday. The plan is expected to be approved by the full council this month.
So far there has been no neighborhood opposition to the design of the expanded facility at Highway 169 and Barry Road or to the tax breaks, but the superintendent of the Platte County R3 School District voted against the TIF when it was before the TIF Commission.
The new owners, IAS Partners, redeveloped and own Antioch Crossing and Blue Ridge Crossing.
They plan to tear down a large portion of the enclosed mall and replace it with a more contemporary open, non-enclosed shopping environment.
Macys and several existing restaurants are expected to stay on.
In addition to the retail space, they plan to include apartments, office space, a theater and a grocery store, and possibly Costco or Trader Joe's.
Steve Bell is afternoon news anchor and business news reporter for KCUR. He may be reached at 816-235-5173 or at firstname.lastname@example.org